The day to day of most families is very fast: between work , school, after school, showers, dinners, etc., there are few minutes left for parents to enjoy quality time with their daughters and sons.
But what do we mean when we talk about quality time? Any time spent doing activities that are meaningful, that give us something. It can already be sharing a moment of play, reading, cooking, listening to music, contemplating a landscape… It is something totally subjective and personal that each individual must choose based on their interests and needs.
Another question that may arise is the following: is it necessary that the time we share be of quality or is it enough to share time? There seems to be no consensus on this. There are those who defend that it is necessary to spend time in company, whether it is of quality or not, while others advocate that the time spent with daughters and sons, even if it is brief, be of the highest quality.
Democratic parenting style
Where there does seem to be consensus with studies that support it is on the importance of educating minors based on a democratic parenting style . And this way of educating involves time, since it consists of maintaining a warm and affective relationship with daughters and sons, communicating clearly and consistently what is expected of them, supervising their behavior, establishing rules and limits appropriate to their age and guaranteeing their autonomy.
Parenting style has emerged as a good predictor of the development or not of psychological problems in minors, such as anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms and social isolation.
It has also been proven that parental control and affection, both present in the democratic educational style, can be a protective factor that leads to positive and healthy lifestyles.
In addition, in a study carried out by the Reina Sofía Center on Adolescence and Youth in the midst of a pandemic, Inside doors and outside screens. Young people in confinement (2020) , a tint of hope is observed as data for the future. 74.1% of young people and adolescents between the ages of 15 and 29 define family life as good or very good.
Do we have enough time?
Considering this information, it seems convenient to dedicate time to the upbringing and education of the youngest. But, returning to current life, we have to be realistic and realize that many families cannot have this time due to different circumstances. What can we do in these cases to make the most of what we have available? Let’s look at some ideas:
- That during the time we are with the family, we are really present: whether it is mobile or any other screen – let’s put the phone on silent or at least deactivate the notifications so that they do not distract us – and avoid doing something else while. Our daughters and sons must realize that they are the most important thing.
- Let’s promote two-way communication where we maintain an active listening, looking each other in the eye, putting ourselves at their level. Let’s tell things about our day to day, so that it doesn’t seem like we’re questioning them, and let’s take an authentic interest in getting to know our daughter or son better and better: what they like, what they don’t, who their friends are, what they’ve done to them laugh today…
- Let’s also talk about how we feel. There are numerous studies that mention the positive aspects of the development of emotional skills in personal, social and school functioning. Let’s ask and tell: what makes us feel sad?, have we felt joy?, at what moment?, has something made us angry?, what has it been?, what do we do when we feel ashamed?…
- If we have the chance, let’s plan some leisure activity, since it has been seen that organized activities tend to produce a more positive impact than unorganized ones and provide more benefits for personal development and growth than those that are not structured. It doesn’t have to be something complicated. It is, above all, that it is not something improvised. It can be a joint game time at home, a walk, see a movie, go to see a show… On some occasions, we can tell them about the activity that we have planned a few days before, since that also allows them to anticipate the illusion of that plan and extend the positive experience over time.
By way of conclusion, it could be said that, if we are lucky enough to be able to choose, we should choose family time: quantity and quality. But if circumstances do not allow us, let us remember that the most important thing is to let our daughters and sons know that we love them unconditionally, regardless of their behavior, and that they can count on us when they need it.
Author Bio: Rocío Babin Cloths is Team Leader of Actions with Families of Fad at the Reina Sofía Center on Adolescence and Youth